Tuesday is our program’s Forest Day…when we do something related to JNF forestry in Israel, not really one of my favorite activities, but I am always interested in what JNF is doing…as it is so much more than trees and so very inspiring. Well, weather wise, things couldn’t be better…. short sleeves again for most of the day…it felt like 70…. and even though we went to the Sataf forest near Jerusalem…it was just as warm there. I walked with the group about a mile down to where they would prune olive trees, and clear weeds from around the base of the trees, but because getting to the trees required walking on rocky, hilly ground, I opted just to wait while the real work was done…but it was pleasant and I was happy…especially when a group of school kids came by. The group must have pruned over 50 olive trees located on the biblical terraces – they couldn’t have been happier and so was the JNF forester who worked with us. He kept thanking the group for their help. I don’t think he thought they were capable of doing so much work!
We had a really fine picnic lunch…bagels…. with whatever salad you chose…and cookies home-made by our coordinator, Susan, and the best clementines ever…and the weather was perfect…we ate at some tables on a hill looking out toward other hills around Jerusalem…. you can just imagine what a happy time that was for me!!
After the picnic, we headed to a town called Or Yehuda… located between Lod (Ben Gurion airport)…to a museum that was listed in our activity schedule as “Babylonian Museum”…I had no idea what to expect…and it turned out to be a GEM…completely exceeding any expectation I might have had…and we had a guide whose knowledge and charm made our visit even more enjoyable………you know I love Israeli museums. And this one did NOT disappoint…it depicts in huge dioramas and displays the Babylonian culture from the time of the Diaspora through the time when the country became part of Iraq and the huge wave of immigration back to Israel in 1951-2…it is meant to give young people of Iraqi descent a sense of their history and culture. As someone whose experiences are limited to mostly Ashkenazi customs, I found the materials and information …about the culture with Muslim influence so fascinating. I felt like I wanted to hang on to every word she said, and wanted more, more, and more. I loved seeing how they celebrated the Jewish holidays, the important events in a Jewish life…and the museum even contained a small reconstruction of the main synagogue of Baghdad. It was truly one of the most interesting places I have visited here, and part of the CAARI group’s attempt to take us to unusual places…it was incredible to find this little treasure located in a small town of which I had never heard.
And so it was really a SUPER Tuesday for me…and I hope I will still feel happy when I see the primary results.
Tomorrow, we are heading south to the Negev. I checked the weather and it is scheduled to be another glorious day…I am almost bursting with happiness, being here …and each day gets better…. or have I said that before.
Love you all